lor mug Liz Hanley.jpg

Liz Hanley.

The family dynamic has really changed over the last 30 years.

And with all this new technology and information children’s lives have become more and more complex. No matter how complex things have become children need to feel wanted, normal and loved.

In “Families have Together” by Harriet Ziefert, we experience the things that families do together in rhyme and simple sketches which leave you reminiscing. Speaking about memories, in “This is a the Rope, a story from the great migration” by Jacqueline Woodson you learn how a simple piece of rope tells the story of three generations of a life now being told at a family reunion. Sometimes it is not the big events in life that you remember. While reading “What I’ll remember when I am a Grownup” by Gina Willner-Pardo, Daniel’s recollections include two loving families. However, it is the way that things smell, feel, sound and look he’s decided to remember.

Life is full of twists and turns and 11-year-old Binny must learn to adjust after her father dies. The money is tight and so is the apartment she shares with mom, older sister, younger brother and beloved dog Max. A decision is made by her Aunt Violet to get rid of the smelly Max which leaves Binny devastated. After the death of her aunt, her family goes to live in a creepy old mansion by the sea. A new beginning is what Binny’s mom wants, but Binny still wants Max. Read “Binny for Short” by Hilary McKay and find out that a fresh start can be filled with new adventures too.

Another 11-year-old, Jack Martel must cope with a mother who abandons him in Arcadia National Park a camping trip. He keeps thinking she will return and tries not to let anyone know. Jack is befriended by a family and given food and a family excursion, but he knows he has to make it back to Boston before the authorities find out.

This is not the first time she had forgotten him, but surely she cannot be that far away. Jack holds on to his souvenir elephant and a backpack with three comics and some cheese. “Small as an elephant” by Jennifer Richard Jacobson explores the strong bond of a child with a troubled parent.

Perhaps you are acquainted with some well known siblings Judy Moody and her little brother Stink. In a new Stink adventure, “Stink and the Shark Sleepover” by Megan McDonald, Stink is elated that his parents have won tickets to the aquarium. Of course, it is a sleepover and even though the last two attempts have rendered him a little freaked out, he is now seven and three-quarters, ready for anything.

He learns that his friend Sophie also has won tickets and invited their mutual best friend Webster. On the night of the sleepover, Stink is equipped with his shark sleeping bag, shark slippers and shark tooth necklace. Their guide for the evening is Miss D who shows them around the place and sends them on scavenger hunts, tells spooky bed time stories and relates facts that even Stink doesn’t know. Now it’s bedtime.

Will Stink really be able to fall asleep? Suppose the shark tank breaks or Bloody Mary comes? It’s always fun when pranksters Stink and Webster are onboard.

If you want to know about your ancestors as Fancy Nancy in “Fancy Nancy: my family History” by Jane O’connor did, you might start with questioning your grandparents. When Fancy Nancy does she decides they are just a little too ordinary so she exaggerates a little.

Will Fancy Nancy ever learn her lesson? No matter what your family is like they are still your family and it helps when you like them. In “Claudia Cristina Cortez Uncomplicates your Life” by Diana Gallagher, Claudia explains and gives advice with the help of a few friends on how to live and get along with your family. She’s thirteen now, but won’t be always and she needs them as she navigates the teen years.

Well if you are still not sure about your family you can always do a little digging in our Family History Room. You just might learn a thing or two from “DNA: Window to the Past” by Jim Ollhoff. This book shows “how science can help untangle your family roots.” One amazing thing is that in genetic genealogy we are all related somehow. Now, with so many advanced tools, you are certain to find how to survive in the family of mankind. Let us get you pointed in the right direction at Muskogee Public Library.

Liz Hanley is the children’s librarian at the Muskogee Public Library. Reach her at (918) 682-6657, ext. 232 or


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